You can never forget your first client experience; in fact, in all likelihood, acquiring your first client would have helped you learn a few invaluable lessons that you remember even today.
Hence, Cafemutual and Edelweiss Mutual Fund have decided to run a series ‘My first client’. In the first article in this series, we spoke to Bharat Bagla and Amit Kukreja on how they acquired their first client and what they have learned from this experience.
Bharat Bagla of Bees Network, Kolkata
I came to know about mutual funds during my stint at Birla Global Finance in 2000 where I was responsible for selling consumer loans. Here, I got familiar with mutual fund distribution while interacting with colleagues from MF distribution business. I find it very interesting and started financial distribution on my own.
My first client was a businessperson. Even though he was referred to me by a friend, after speaking to him on the phone, I realized that I would not get to meet him easily. However, I was not disheartened and kept on approaching him through SMS and phone calls to seek his appointment. I used to send him informal messages such as investment quotes just to stay on the top of his mind.
Eventually, he gave me an appointment after a month. I decided not to take the approach of talking about financial goals as I knew that the wealthy do not have challenges such as providing for children education and marriage. Instead, I decided to explain to him the importance of diversifying to reduce concentration risk using the analogy of his business. It worked and today, he is one of my largest clients.
My first client taught me to be persistent and stay in constant touch with prospects. Had he given his meeting, I would have never learnt to put persistent efforts.
Amit Kukreja, founder, AmitKukreja.com
I started my career as an IT consultant. I came to know about mutual funds through a bank RM who used to manage my portfolio. However, the advice offered by him was biased as he churned my portfolio very often. I realized that there was a huge lacuna in the financial advisory space and started exploring this opportunity further. I developed a keen interest in financial products, money management and holistic financial planning and made up mind to shift to finance & investments consulting. I quit the job to start on my own in 2011.
Luck was pretty much at my side. In the beginning, every IFA struggles to get clients, but in my case, clients walked to me. My first client located me through the FPSB directory. He had bought a couple of insurance policies including ULIPs and wanted to seek an advice on his holdings.
The first thing I did was to make him realize that insurance was not an investment product; instead, I suggested SIPs in mutual funds. All this while, I focussed on understanding his needs and aspirations. I worked with him to identify and define his financial goals; only after that did we start his investment journey in mutual funds.
I realized that investors need unbiased advice to grow wealth and advisors should spend time to understand needs and aspirations of clients instead of jumping into product recommendation during first few meetings. I follow this approach even today.